MN-LHS Program Scholars and Trainees

MN-LHS Scholars

Cohort 7


Elizabeth Goldsmith, MD, PhD

2024–present

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Dr. Goldsmith is a general internist, an epidemiologist, and a Core Investigator at the Minneapolis VA Center for Care Delivery & Outcomes Research (CCDOR). Her research areas include behavioral and movement therapies for chronic pain, quantitative bias analysis, and sexual and gender minority health. Her LHS project develops data and methods to evaluate quality of anatomically relevant care for gender-diverse patients. She is a primary care doctor in the Minneapolis VA and is a physician on the National VA Transgender and Gender-Diverse E-Consult Team. Dr. Goldsmith holds an MD from the Stanford University School of Medicine and a PhD in social and behavioral epidemiology from the University of Minnesota. She is currently an Assistant Professor of Medicine at the University of Minnesota Medical School.

 

Melissa Harry, PhD, MSW, LGSW

2024–present

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Dr. Melissa Harry is a Research Scientist with the Essentia Institute of Rural Health (EIRH), the education and research center for Essentia Health, an integrated health system serving a largely rural multi-state geographic area and headquartered in Duluth, Minnesota. She also currently serves as the lead scientist for trauma research at Essentia Health-St. Mary’s Medical Center’s Level I Adult/Level II Pediatric Trauma Center. She holds a PhD from Boston College and an MSW degree from the University of Minnesota Duluth. She routinely conducts quantitative, qualitative, and mixed methods research in health system settings, and will be studying equity in suicide screening and prevention while an MN-LHS scholar. Her broad research interests include health equity, behavioral health, participatory research, dissemination and implementation science, cross-cultural measurement, trauma-informed care, shared decision-making, clinical decision support, and pragmatic randomized control trials.

Amanda Herrmann, PhD

2024–present

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Dr. Herrmann is a Research Associate at the HealthPartners Institute Neuroscience Research Center and an Adjunct Assistant Professor in the Department of Rehabilitation Medicine at the University of Minnesota Medical School. Her primary research interest is investigating complementary and integrative health approaches for people with neurological disorders. She serves as the Principal Investigator on three studies, one examining the effect of exercise on chronic inflammation in spinal cord injury and two examining acupuncture in individuals with chronic post-traumatic headache and Myasthenia gravis. She is also a Co-investigator on the Minnesota Regional Spinal Cord Injury Model Systems grant, and serves as Site PI and Co-investigator on several other federally funded studies. Dr. Herrmann received her doctorate degree in Health and Rehabilitation Science from the Medical University of South Carolina and her master’s and bachelor’s degrees in Kinesiology from the University of Minnesota.

Derek Lumbard, MD

2024–present

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Dr. Lumbard is a trauma and critical care surgeon in the Department of Surgery at Hennepin Healthcare and an adjunct assistant professor at University of Texas Health Science Center San Antonio. He is a ‘white paper’ research scholar with Hennepin Healthcare Research Institute. His current work focuses on community violence prevention with a particular focus on firearm injuries. He works closely with the Hospital-Based Violence Intervention Program(HVIP), Next Step, which provides resources to support survivors of violent injuries. His LHS project focuses on evaluating the effectiveness and reach of the HVIP to support pathways to recovery after injury. Dr. Lumbard completed medical school at the Medical College of Wisconsin, a general surgery residency at Hennepin County Medical Center and surgical critical care fellowship at UT Health San Antonio.

Rubina Rizvi, MD, PhD

2024–present

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Dr. Rizvi is an assistant professor in the Department of Surgery at the University of Minnesota Medical School, and a digital integration lead at the Center for Learning Health System Sciences. Her career is a blend of both international and U.S. education and experience with over 10 years in the field of health informatics, both in the industry and academia. Her areas of research interest are human-computer interaction, usability evaluations/workflow analysis of health technologies with the end-users, qualitative-quantitative research, mixed methods studies, and dissecting and decoding data using novel methodologies. She is a strong advocate of diversity, equity, and inclusion, especially when it comes to equitable healthcare delivery leveraging digital technologies. Dr. Rizvi has over 23 PubMed-cited publications with 11 being as a first or last author, in addition to several posters and oral presentations at local and as well international platforms.

Kerry Sheets, MD

2024–present

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Dr. Sheets is a practicing geriatrician at Hennepin Healthcare and an Assistant Professor of Medicine at the University of Minnesota. Dr. Sheets’ research focuses on the early stages of cognitive and functional decline in older adults. Her goal as a MN-LHS scholar is to promote health equity with a focus on early identification of older adults experiencing cognitive decline. She completed medical school at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, internal medicine residency and chief residency at the Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center, a geriatric medicine fellowship at Hennepin Healthcare, and a Masters of Science in Clinical Research at the University of Minnesota.

Cohort 6


Elliot Arsoniadis, MD, PhD

2022–2024

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Dr. Arsoniadis is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Surgery, Division of Colon and Rectal Surgery at the University of Minnesota. He completed medical school at the University of Chicago Pritzker School of Medicine, a general surgery residency at the University of Minnesota, and a colon and rectal surgery fellowship at the Cleveland Clinic Florida. He has also completed a Doctor of Philosophy in Health Informatics from the Institute for Health Informatics at the University of Minnesota. His clinical interests include the surgical management of colorectal cancer, inflammatory bowel disease, and anorectal disorders. His LHS project studies ways to improve the screening and detection of premalignant anal lesions in high-risk populations, especially HIV+ gay men, in an effort to prevent development of anal cancer. These interests stem from a broader interest in improving the delivery of healthcare to the LGBTQ+ patient population.

Thomas Byrd, MD, MS

2022–2024

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Dr. Byrd is an Assistant Professor of Medicine in the Department of Medicine, Division of Hospital Medicine, at the University of Minnesota. His current work focuses on clinical deterioration, wherein a patient’s condition suddenly and unexpectedly worsens while hospitalized. As an MN-LHS scholar, he aims to optimize and implement an unbiased artificial intelligence algorithm that predicts deterioration before it occurs, allowing for swift clinical intervention. Dr. Byrd attended medical school at the University of New Mexico and completed residency training in internal medicine at Northwestern University. He earned his master’s degree in Health and Biomedical Informatics from Northwestern University.

Cohort 5


Abbie Begnaud, MD

2021–2023

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Dr. Begnaud is an Assistant Professor of Medicine in the Department of Medicine, Division of Pulmonary, Allergy, Critical Care and Sleep Medicine at the University of Minnesota. As an interventional pulmonologist with a passion for lung cancer, she has led the implementation of the University of Minnesota Health Lung Cancer Screening Program since its inception in 2013. Her goal as a MN-LHS scholar is to impact health care delivery to promote a more equitable healthcare system with a focus on improving access to and implementation of lung cancer screening (LCS). Dr. Begnaud holds an MD from Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center.

Allison Gustavson, PT, DPT, PhD

2021–2023

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Dr. Gustavson is a research trained physical therapist and current post-doctoral fellow in Center for Care Delivery & Outcomes Research (CCDOR) at the Minneapolis VA. Her research focuses on using implementation science to promote the uptake and spread of evidence based practice and patient-centered outcomes into healthcare systems, clinical practices, and community based services. Her aim as a learning health system researcher is to implement a telerehabilitation program to enhance access to quality rehabilitation following hospitalization for persons with dementia. Dr. Gustavson has a Doctorate in Physical Therapy from the University of Minnesota and a PhD in Rehabilitation Science from the University of Colorado.

Cohort 4


Kasey Boehmer, PhD, MPH

2021–2022

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Dr. Boehmer is an Assistant Professor of Health Services Research at Mayo Clinic and affiliate faculty with the University of Minnesota School of Nursing. She holds a PhD in Nursing and an MPH in Public Health Administration & Policy from the University of Minnesota. Her goal is to conduct research that advances evidence-based care that makes intellectual, emotional, and practical sense in the lives of people, particularly those who face multiple chronic conditions and personal or social complexity. Dr. Boehmer’s time spent in the program will focus on implementing an intervention to support patients on dialysis.

Warren McKinney, PhD, MA

2021–2022

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Dr. McKinney is a Post-Doctoral Research Fellow at Hennepin Healthcare where his research focuses on creating culturally sensitive resources to support African-American kidney transplant candidates. As a MN-LHS scholar, Dr. McKinney will be embedded within the Nephrology Department at Hennepin Healthcare Research Institute. While there, he will develop patient-centered resources to improve patient education and consultation on the newly available Hepatitis C positive deceased donor option at the Hennepin Healthcare Kidney Transplant Program. Dr McKinney completed a PhD in sociology from Columbia University in 2018, and a combined Master’s degree in African-American Studies and Sociology from Yale University in 2009.

Cohort 3


Pawel Mroz, MD, PhD

2020–2023

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Dr. Mroz is an Assistant Professor at the Department of Laboratory Medicine and Pathology at the University of Minnesota Medical School. He is actively involved in patient care by providing morphological, flow cytometry and molecular diagnoses for patients that seek care at M Health Fairview. Dr. Mroz’s research interests are focused on two areas: developing novel molecular assays for improved detection of minimal residual disease in hematologic patients, particularly droplet digital PCR; and development and implementation of pharmacogenomic testing within the M Health Fairview System and the State of Minnesota. He received his MD and PhD degrees from the Medical University of Warsaw, followed by 6 years as a Postdoctoral Fellow and Instructor at Massachusetts General Hospital, Harvard Medical School. He completed residency training in Anatomic and Clinical Pathology at the Department of Pathology, Northwestern University in Chicago, and fellowship training in Hematopathology and Molecular Genetic Pathology at the Department of Pathology, University of Michigan in Ann Arbor.

Cohort 2


Bjorn Berg, PhD

2019–2022

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Dr. Berg is an Assistant Professor in the Division of Health Policy and Management at the University of Minnesota. His research is focused on applying operations research and systems engineering methods to problems in health care delivery settings. Dr. Berg’s current work is centered on designing family medicine residency schedules. Balancing inpatient, outpatient, and specialty rotations with continuity of outpatient clinic care represents a complex challenge for residency programs and is central to patient and resident clinic experiences. His time as an MN-LHS scholar will be spent in embedded collaboration with the Department of Family Medicine and Community Health at the University of Minnesota to study balanced residency schedules. Dr. Berg received his PhD in Industrial Engineering from North Carolina State University. Prior to joining the University of Minnesota, Bjorn worked at Mayo Clinic focusing on patient access to outpatient care.

Carolyn Bramante, MD, MPH

2019–2021

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Dr. Bramante is an Assistant Professor at the University of Minnesota. She received her medical degree from the University of Minnesota and completed combined residency training in Internal Medicine and Pediatrics (“Med-Peds”) at Johns Hopkins Hospital. Dr. Bramante stayed at Johns Hopkins for a General Internal Medicine Clinical Research Fellowship, during which she completed training in Obesity Medicine, which includes experience with pharmacotherapy and other interventions for obesity treatment. She is board-certified in Internal Medicine, Pediatrics, and Obesity Medicine. Her clinical and research interests center around obesity treatment and prevention for children and adults. She researches ways to assist daily behavior change at home to achieve weight loss, as well as other weight management interventions. Dr. Bramante sees patients in the Comprehensive Weight Management Center and the Pediatric Weight Management Center at M Health Fairview. She received her MD and MPH from the University of Minnesota.

Sarah McCarthy, PhD, MPH, LP

2019–2023

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Dr. McCarthy is a pediatric psychologist and researcher at Mayo Clinic. Her current work focuses on developing and evaluating care delivery models that consider, target, and act upon the diverse psychological and social needs of children with complex chronic diseases and their families. Her prior research has examined the role of children and adolescents in health care communication and decision making. Dr. McCarthy received her doctorate from Emory University and her Masters of Public Health from Harvard University. She completed her postdoctoral fellowship at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute/Boston Children’s Hospital and was a staff psychologist at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute/Boston Children’s Hospital for 6 years. Dr. McCarthy is currently an Assistant Professor of Psychology at Mayo Medical School and provides clinical services to medically ill children and their families through the Pediatric Psychology Consultation Liaison Service and Pediatric Palliative Care Service.

Debbie Pestka, PharmD, PhD

2019–2021

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Dr. Pestka is a pharmacist and health services researcher at the University of Minnesota College of Pharmacy. As a practicing pharmacist, she has witnessed many of the gaps in care, inefficiencies in the health care system, and challenges that patients and providers face. These experiences have driven her desire to undertake research that improves patient care by incorporating pharmacists into primary care teams. She has extensive experience working across numerous health care settings with a variety of stakeholders to improve care delivery and patient outcomes. For her MN-LHS project, Dr. Pestka will evaluate the implementation and outcomes of comprehensive medication management services in Fairview Health Services’ population health primary care transformation. She received her PharmD and PhD from the University of Minnesota and continues to work as a pharmacist in the community setting.

Christopher Tignanelli, MD, MS

2019–2021

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Dr. Tignanelli is a trauma and critical care surgeon at the University of Minnesota Medical Center and North Memorial Health Hospital. His current work focuses on reducing variability in the delivery of evidence-based practice for patients with rib fractures and other complex traumatic injuries. He attended medical school at the New Jersey Medical School, general surgery residency at the University of North Carolina, surgical critical care fellowship at the University of Michigan, and recently completed a Master of Science degree at the University of Minnesota School of Public Health’s M.S. in Clinical Research Program. He is currently an Assistant Professor of Surgery in the University of Minnesota Medical School.

Cohort 1


Elisheva Danan, MD, MPH

2019–2021

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Dr. Danan is a primary care physician and health services researcher at the Minneapolis VA Center for Care Delivery and Outcomes Research (CCDOR). Her current work focuses on developing and implementing trauma-sensitive, patient-centered primary and preventive healthcare practices for women who have experienced sexual assault. Prior research addressed expanding access to evidence-based smoking cessation treatments and overcoming barriers to quitting for women and low socioeconomic status smokers. She attended medical school at the University of California, Davis, completed a Master of Public Health in Community Health Sciences at the University of California, Los Angeles, and served as an internal medicine resident and chief resident at Harbor-UCLA Medical Center. She then completed an Advanced Fellowship in Health Services Research at the Minneapolis VA. Dr. Danan is currently an Assistant Professor of Medicine in the University of Minnesota Medical School.

Cory Schaffhausen, PhD, MS

2019–2021

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Dr. Schaffhausen completed a Master’s degree from the Stanford Joint Program in Design and has over 6 years of industry experience developing healthcare technology. In 2015, he completed a PhD in engineering from the University of Minnesota and created new methods to identify unmet stakeholder needs, including within healthcare environments. His current research position at Hennepin Healthcare Research Institute focuses on providing organ transplant candidates with patient friendly resources to make informed treatment decisions. His work follows an interdisciplinary approach to applying design thinking processes in healthcare research. His research interests are to improve efficiency and outcomes in health systems through data-driven patient and provider decisions, and Dr. Schaffhausen will spend time as an MN-LHS scholar creating tools to help liver transplant candidates prepare for an organ offer decision.

MN-LHS Fellows

Cohort 1


Mohannad Al-Tarakji, MD

2024–present

Headshot of Mohannad Al-Tarakji

Dr. Al-Tarakji, a Clinical Informatics Fellow and visionary surgeon with a passion for optimizing healthcare, joined the Learning Health Institute. His journey began with an MD from Damascus University, followed by surgical training and a research fellowship at the American University of Beirut. Fueled by a desire to push boundaries, he completed residencies in General Surgery and Acute Care Surgery at Hamad Medical Corporation, Qatar. Dr. Al-Tarakji's quest for excellence didn't stop there. He delved into medical ethics at the University of Chicago's MacLean Center and honed his critical care skills at the University of Minnesota. Now, through his Fellowship, he marries his expertise with technology to revolutionize physician training. A prolific researcher and collaborator, Dr. Al-Tarakji tackles critical issues like AI's impact on healthcare costs and ethics. His dedication to innovation and resident education makes him a cornerstone of the Learning Health Institute.

Melissa Gunderson, MD

2024–present

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Dr. Gunderson is a General Surgery resident and Clinical Informatics fellow at the University of Minnesota. She completed her medical degree at the University of North Dakota. Her clinical interests include endocrine surgery, acute care surgery and surgical critical care. Dr. Gunderson’s research interests include quality and safety in the pre, intra and post op periods and the application of informatics principles to improve surgical care. Additionally, she is interested in the use of data sharing platforms, remote patient monitoring and artificial intelligence tools to improve clinical workflows, reduce clinician burnout and optimize and expand patient care.

Lindsay Welton, MD

2024–present

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Dr. Welton is a General Surgery Resident at the University of Minnesota. She earned her Bachelor of Arts in Sociology from the University of California, Berkeley and then went on to earn her Doctor of Medicine from the University of Colorado School of Medicine. She is currently earning a Master of Arts in Medical Gerontology from the University of Southern California while completing her residency professional development and research years. Her research and clinical interests are in colorectal surgery and the care of our aging population. Her LHS project focuses on screening for fecal incontinence in the primary care setting to increase diagnostic and colorectal clinic referral rates in efforts to improve treatment of this often underdiagnosed condition. After training, she aspires to have a vibrant clinical practice in colon and rectal surgery and to be an expert in geriatric surgery including shared decision-making, outcomes assessment, and optimization of care for this important and growing population.